In late July, I stood on Ventura Blvd. after a man came to a busy area, waved a gun and fired into the air. Thankfully, no one died. Our law enforcement professionals did their jobs and kept us safe. But, it easily could have ended differently. It could have been much worse.
Just a day before that, a gunman opened fire, killing two women and injuring nine more in a Lafayette, La. movie theater. A week before that, a gunman killed 5 U.S. service members in Chattanooga, Tenn.
We hear about horrific acts of gun violence like these far too many times, so many that we, as Americans, risk becoming numb to them. Some of the worst atrocities have become part of our lexicon. We can all recite a litany of places where mass shootings have occurred: Columbine, Isla Vista, New Town, Aurora and even North Hollywood.
Each year, more than 15,000 children and teens are killed or injured with a gun in our country. That’s 288 each week and 41 each day. The Washington Post just reported that this year is one of the worst for mass shootings: in the first 204 days of this year alone, there were 204 mass killings shootings, one for every day of the year thus far.
I have had enough. Like President Obama, I believe we can and must do more at all levels of government to prevent such tragedies. The problem for most of us is that Congress has failed to take meaningful action to stop gun violence.
For more than 20 years, before I was elected to office and in every position I’ve held since then, I have worked diligently with concerned community members to find ways to prevent these sort of mass killings. Together, we’ve made great strides and adopted important legislation.
This month, I’m very proud to report that City of Los Angeles is continuing that movement toward gun safety.
On July 28, the City Council voted unanimously to approve my ordinance that will ban the possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines in Los Angeles. The law closes a 15-year-old loophole in state law, which outlaws the sale and purchase of these magazines, but allows people to legally possess them. Now, LA has become the largest city in California to outlaw the possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
This law is critical because 60 percent of all mass shooting crimes are committed with guns that have high-capacity magazines.
The City Council is also taking up my ordinance to require gun owners to store their handguns in a locked container or disable them with trigger locks when they are home.
Almost every week, we hear about kids killed unnecessarily because of an irresponsibly stored handgun. It happened in Detroit and Mobile, Ala. during one week in July. This week it could be Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is leading the way in passing common-sense, reasonable gun safety laws. I believe this is not only important, but it’s our job to do everything we can to save lives and send a message to Congress that we can no longer wait. We need action now.